Time present and time past


Just at the point of greatest despair over this my second MA exhibition I reread the poem Burnt Norton from the Four Quartets by T S Eliot. The poem itself appears site specific, but the reach of the words is universal and timeless as it addresses wider concerns. Suddenly the clouds cleared as the words resonated. Underlying the images in this set of work were the thoughts that the past cannot be rewritten, the future is indeterminate and all we have is the present. Eliot’s words express this with clarity and sorrow. There is a sense that people change little over time, repeatedly making the same mistakes. Unspoken parallels can be drawn from my choice of images as well as the way each has been treated, with both their provenance, Palmyra,  and the wider world today. For me there are consoling lines in the poem that provide a counterpoint to the mayhem of most of the images.  The still point of the turning world, I feel expresses some kind of resolution to the sorrow and anger of recent events.

The completed work consists of forty seven etched images printed mainly on very fine silk, with others on thin Chinese rice paper. These were then damaged variously by burning, gunshot, slashing, soot and overpainting. Each image is unique, only a few are shown here. Silk was chosen as a support for it’s apparent fragility, but interestingly when fired at it was the paper paper prints that suffered most damage.